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Devils announce intent to purchase Lock Monsters

The New Jersey Devils on Wednesday announced that they have signed a letter of intent to purchase a controlling interest in the American Hockey League’s Lowell Lock Monsters franchise.

The sale is subject to specific terms and conditions, and transfer of ownership is pending approval by the AHL’s Board of Governors.

“We look forward to having our top development team play in front of the Lowell fans,” said Devils CEO/president/general manager Lou Lamoriello. “At the same time, we’d like to thank the fans in Albany who have supported us during the past 13 seasons.”

The Albany River Rats have had a working agreement to serve as New Jersey’s top AHL affiliate since 1993-94. The two teams each won their respective league championships in 1994-95.

The announcement leaves the River Rats searching for a new NHL affiliation for 2006-07.

“From the time that I announced my plans to sell the franchise, I have worked very hard to find a buyer who would commit to keeping the team in Lowell,” said current Lock Monsters owner Elkin McCallum.

“I am pleased to report that I have an agreement with the management of the New Jersey Devils to purchase the Lock Monsters and they have committed to keeping the team in Lowell through the 2007-08 season.”

The Lock Monsters have been affiliated with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes since 2001. They had a shared affiliation with the Calgary Flames from 2003-05, and with the Colorado Avalanche in 2005-06.